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Halfords turns in 21% rise in online sales

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Online sales at Halfords grew by more than a fifth in the first half of its financial year, sharply contrasting with a fall in overall retail sales.

The company, which sells goods from car maintenance to camping equipment through a multichannel operation as well as operating an estate of autocentres, this week reported a 21.3% rise in online sales in the six months to September 28. Some 10.5% of its total sales came from ecommerce sales in the half year, up from 8.6% at the same time last year.

“This strong growth,” said the Halfords financial statement, “reflected the success of our investments in website capability, the introduction of our new 24-hour Reserve & Collect service and the rebalancing of promotions to focus more on product price rather than percentage discounting.”

In the half-year to September 28, Halfords reported a 0.4% rise in revenue to £455.6m, compared to the same time last year. Its retail sales were down by 1.9% to £393m while its autocentre income rose by 17.2% to £62.6m. Like for like sales were down by 0.1%. Pre-tax profits were at £42.4m, down 22.5% on last year.

The company said its retail sales rose “markedly” in the second quarter, after a difficult first quarter, as it took “full advantage of the opportunities provided by the summer of sport,” said chairman Dennis Millard,”We also made good progress on channel and category initiatives; central to this is the priority of building a company-wide customer service ethic,as well as investing in training and support for colleagues.”

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